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Vol.24, No. 01 Sept. 4, 1998

New Columbia Card Expands Service Featured on University ID

The new "Columbia Card" has hit campus, introducing a host of new optional banking and debit services that are, or will soon be, available to students, faculty and staff on their standard Columbia ID.

Expanding the Columbia Card services is a newly formed relationship between Citibank and Columbia which will eventually offer banking services, including ATM access from the card. Already available to Columbia students who choose to enroll in the Citibank offer are low-cost banking services, including a no-minimum checking account for $3 per month, or a free checking account for those making direct deposits.

Faculty and staff will receive one free year of checking at no minimum balance through this relationship as well.

Other on-campus services currently offered on the card are debit accounts for: dining halls, laundry machines, the University Bookstore and vending machines. Also, the card will continue to be used to enter residence halls, to borrow books from the libraries, to enter the fitness center and to access long distance phone service.

Last year, the University issued 20,000 ID cards to members of the University community. All existing ID cards will remain in effect until their stated expiration date. New cards are required only for ATM services.

Already - in response to summer mailings - nearly 800 students have signed up for the Columbia Card debit accounts and more than 800 have signed up for a Citibank account.

Under the terms of the Citibank agreement, Columbians will have access to Citibank's banking services through the Internet, telephone and onsite through ATMs located in Carman and shortly in SIPA.

"The Columbia-Citibank agreement," according to Vice President for Student Services Mark Burstein, "will help solve one of the perennial problems of University life: obtaining a reasonably priced checking account. The Columbia Card project builds on our progress towards making routine administrative transactions more convenient. We look forward to adding even more functionality and convenience to the card."

The announcement has generated enthusiasm among students.

"It seems like students are really excited about it," said Allan Ng, CC'99, vice president of the Columbia College Student Council. "Before, the card was something students just showed to security. But having the ability to withdraw cash, pay for textbooks and do your laundry all on one card is wonderful."

Over time, the Columbia Card will also serve as an ATM card for those who open Citibank accounts. For these card-holders, banking information will be encoded in a separate magnetic strip on The Columbia Card, which will only be activated for Citibank customers.